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Data from: Thermal quality influences habitat use of two anole species

Cite this dataset

Thompson, Michelle E.; Halstead, Brian J.; Donnelly, Maureen A. (2018). Data from: Thermal quality influences habitat use of two anole species [Dataset]. Dryad.


Regeneration of secondary forests on previously deforested or degraded land is one of the most dominant forms of land-use change in the tropics. However, the response of animal communities to forest regeneration is poorly understood. To evaluate support for thermal quality as a mechanism driving reptile species distributions during secondary forest succession, we measured operative temperatures and occupancy in three successional forest stages (pasture, secondary forest, and old growth forest) for two anole species common in the landscape (Norops humilis and Norops limifrons). We then measured thermal preference in laboratory experiments and used operative temperature and temperature preference measurements to determine how thermal quality of habitat changes over the course of secondary forest succession, and if occupancy varies as a function of thermal quality. We found that thermal quality was lowest in pasture habitat because of a large frequency of temperatures above the thermal preference range. However, in low thermal quality pasture sites, riparian habitats and remnant trees provided a thermal refuge for both lizard species. Our results support thermal quality as a mechanism for reptile species distributions in altered landscapes and highlight the importance of the maintenance of riparian corridors.

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Northeastern Costa Rica